Many CEOs with deep Enterprise Technology experience have struggled to adapt to the “consumerization” of Tech. We have seen this phenomenon a number of times within the Enterprise Software industry.
A common scenario is as follows: A Board of Directors recruits a “battle-tested” Software CEO. A “Battle-tested CEO” often means that 70-80% of that CEO’s executive experience was gained in years/decades past when the Enterprise Software industry was a very different game:
I think of the first iPhone as the catalyst for the “consumerization” of technology. The first iPhone was marked by a simple, aesthetically pleasing design. The product was intuitive (I don’t recall any friction points) and simply worked. This was at a time when the mobile device industry did not value design nor the user experience. The iPhone of course disrupted the industry and quickly became the dominant device. Consumers brought their iPhones into the workplace and it became the “company” phone. Since that time many start-up Tech companies (hardware and software) have placed a far greater emphasis on design language, the user experience and build quality. This applies to Enterprise Software companies as well. Thus, when one comes across an Enterprise Software product marked by a clunky, confusing user experience, multiple friction points and slow response times it is indicative of a company/CEO that does not value the customer experience. It also means that company is ripe for disruption and carries a target on its back.